Madison Bumgarner's Double Life

Mason Saunders is a living legend.

Jim Rome
February 25, 2020 - 12:00 pm
Madison Bumgarner

USA Today


Madison Bumgarner is a 30-year-old living legend from the foothills of North Carolina. He’s a four-time All Star, a 3-time World Series champion with the Giants, and the owner of the most impressive postseasons anyone has ever seen back in 2014 when he pitched a record 52 and two thirds innings, won four games, saved another, and posted a 1.18 ERA on his way to ripping the MVP trophy against the Royals. 

That same dude just signed a 5-year, 85 million dollar deal with the Diamondbacks 10 days before Christmas. That’s Madison Bumgarner.

Mason Saunders, however,  is 30-year-old rodeo competitor… also from the foothills of North Carolina. And while Mad Bum was putting pen to paper with the D-Backs last December—Mason Saunders was putting lasso to cattle in a team-roping event not too far away at Rancho Rio Arena in Wickenburg, Arizona. 

So these guys have some things in common. They’re both 30. They’re both from North Carolina. And they both made some money in Arizona in the same month late last year.

Oh—and they’re both Madison Bumgarner.

In the least surprising, most surprising, not at all surprising, bombshell report of Spring—Madison Bumgarner was just doxed as having a longtime rodeo alias named Mason Saunders.

Ron Mexico and Zavier Simpson crashing his AD’s car and telling cops his name was Jeff Jackson Simpson can’t believe the Mason Saunders alias. 

But I can. Because if you told me that The Athletic just dropped a story detailing a Major League Baseball player moonlighting as a rodeo competitor under a fake name and gave me one guess as to who it was—I’d have bet all my Space Jam royalty checks on Madbum before you even finished the question. 

What makes this reveal of a double life so incredible is how well-kept of a secret it was for so long. Especially considering that Madbum did absolutely nothing to disguise himself at these events. You know that super played out take about how if a baseball player walked past you in the mall you wouldn’t even notice? Maybe the fact that one of the most famous and recognizable pitchers can do rodeo in plain sight for years without anyone knowing is the most damning indictment of the game ever. 

The Athletic reports that Madbum has been using the alias Mason Saunders to enter these events since 2016. And that everyone in the rodeo community had been keeping his secret for almost half a decade so he could participate without the mainstream media wrecking it for him. And again, he wasn’t exactly going out of his way to hide it. In fact, just a few months ago his picture was all over a Facebook page after he won 26-grr in a roping competition. So in other words—this isn’t Tim Tebow batting a buck-50 in double A ball. This is a second career! My man Madbum is out here winning money as Mason Saunders! Not to mention, that side hustle is a helluva more dangerous than his day job; than most day jobs. 

Madbum copped to all of this with The Athletic when they a dropped a picture in front of him—of Mason Saunders lassoing a bull from horseback. And his willingness to just out himself like that tells me a few things. One—he ain’t sorry and he ain’t changing. And two—the Diamondbacks probably knew about this. Baseball has extremely strong contract language about what these guys can and can’t do. And Madbum has some dirtbike history that makes him a prime candidate for a thorough probing. He also told about smaller rodeos he was entering way back in 2016. So there’s been a little smoke around this fire for a while now. And to think the D-Backs would just give 85 mill to a guy that they didn’t know everything about would be pretty naïve. Esp. Since the guy really wasn’t doing anything to hide it.

And for it’s worth, the D-Backs told The Athletic that they’re not going to get into the details of Madbum’s contract. Which makes it even more likely that the two parties have something worked out already.

How’s that grab you, Yoenis Cespedes? Madbum is out here wrangling cattle on horseback and winning money for it—and you’re stepping in a hole getting run over by a boar and losing millions. I guess some guys are just better ranch-hands than others.

Like I said off the top. Madbum is a 30-year-old living legend. He really is. His play speaks for itself. Especially in the World Series. But the stuff off the field is even better. This dude once dated a girl named Madison Bumgarner in high school. Not a joke. That’s a real thing. He dated a girl named Madison Bumgarner. He also killed a snake that was about to bite him, cut off its head, and pulled out a rabbit from its stomach that was still alive and set it free. He bought his first suit and tie in 2014 when he was forced to give a speech after winning SI’s Sportsman of the Year. He has the most endearing case of redass ever. Just ask Max Muncy and Yasiel Puig. And he rodeos under the name Mason Saunders. And is damn good at it. And didn’t even bother going Bobby Valentine with it and throwing on some glasses and a stache.